Content warning: Casual homophobic slurs as well as references to misogynistic song titles and band names
The world of extreme music isn’t always a happy place where everyone gets along. While the vast majority of the underground is composed of regular people trying to pay their bills and get through the day with a modicum of dignity, there are those on the fringes who have no desire to participate in anything resembling polite society.
Seth Putnam, the infamous frontman of Anal Cunt, stood as a living middle finger in the face of common human decency. While friends and bandmates fondly remember the musician as a warm and sensitive person who cared deeply for those in his orbit, the man behind such songs as “Your Kid Committed Suicide Because You Suck”, “Domestic Violence Is Really, Really, Really Funny” and “I Got an Office Job for the Sole Purpose of Sexually Harassing Women” will best be remembered for his deliberately antagonistic sense of humor as well as moments of drug-fuelled explosive violence.
It’s challenging to gauge to what degree Putnam’s antics were for the sake of shock humor. While his behavior was clearly tongue-in-cheek on occasion, it was just as often connected to real bigotry. After all, it’s hard to say that the man who gave a Nazi salute to the camera at a show in ‘00 right before getting decked by Bob Otis from Dropdead was “just kidding” after he confirmed his involvement in white power side projects. Regardless, Putnam is no longer around to clarify. He died in 2011 of a suspected heart attack at the age of 43.
For his part, Chris Barnes is no stranger to reactionary bullshit. While it might seem innocuous next to Seth Putnam, the Six Feet Under frontman and founding member of Cannibal Corpse has done the necessary legwork to piss off most of the metal world at one point or another by promoting inane conspiracy theories, shitting on modern death metal, sucker-punching people in his support bands, or being a total jerk towards his own fans for no reason at all.
Given the personalities of these two titans of antipathy, it’s particularly funny to hear just how much they hated each other. According to Putnam, Anal Cunt were looking for a new drummer sometime in 1996 so he and guitarist Josh Martin went to a Six Feet Under show in Boston to hand out “help-wanted” flyers. While the band played, Putnam and Martin heckled Barnes over getting kicked out of Cannibal Corpse. The frontman apparently didn’t take it well, leading to a harsh exchange of words with Putnam. They agreed to a one-on-one fight, but when the Anal Cunt singer turned around to walk outside he was immediately jumped by a number of Six Feet Under roadies while Barnes fled to the bus.
The incident inspired one of Anal Cunt’s best-known songs, 1999’s classic “Chris Barnes Is A Pussy.” Here is a sampling of the lyrics:
“You hid on your bus
You were afraid of us
You wouldn’t fight me, ’cause you’re g**
You had your roadies save the day”
As the years went by, an interesting thing happened: Putnam, in his own weird way, became a Six Feet Under fan. While the band seemingly wouldn’t book a gig in Boston after the earlier incident, the Anal Cunt frontman took it upon himself to drive to nearby Providence, Rhode Island in 2003 to watch them play. Here is Putnam’s account of what transpired via his now-defunct blog (as reported by Blabbermouth and edited for content):
“I’m always surprised about stuff like this. I figure a band as funny as Six Feet Under would be booked into comedy clubs, but they keep insisting on doing shows at rock clubs. Anyways, since coming to the realization that [Six Feet Under] are one of the funniest bands in the world last year, this has been the first time I’ve had the opportunity to see them. If you didn’t know, ever since the whole incident with Chris Barnes 7 years ago, [Six Feet Under] haven’t played in Boston (that I know of, anyways).
So, I went, by myself, to Rhode Island (60 miles/100km away) to see them, get a good laugh, and hope Chris Barnes would try and fight me by himself, or at least admit he’s a pussy. I timed getting there badly, and got stuck seeing 2 of the opening bands. The first was Behemoth. I heard their first CD years ago, and thought it was funny, kind of like Impaled Northern Moonforest [Putnam’s joke black metal band] with a drum machine (I never got past the first song, so I don’t know if the whole CD is like this). I didn’t like them. After about 30 minutes however, some big mouth was yelling at their soundman to shut the power off. I assumed he was with [Six Feet Under]. I then noticed a Hatebreed laminated pass around his neck (Hatebreed weren’t playing),and thought, this guy is definitely g*y enough to be with [Six Feet Under]. I asked the poor soundman for Behemoth if that [guy] was with [Six Feet Under], he said yes.
Next up was Skinless. Lots of people have told me good things about them, and I was in jail with their roadie once, so I was mildly interested in seeing them. I didn’t like them at all. Luckily, I got into a long conversation with someone, so I didn’t really have to pay attention to them. They finally got off. Then [Six Feet Under] came onstage to only about 50 people (there were maybe 150-200 people there during the previous bands).
I stood right up front, in front of Chris Barnes, and was looking forward to seeing them. They opened with ‘Bringer Of Blood’, then did some other songs. After about 5-6 songs, they mysteriously stopped, and left the stage.
According to the set list, there were around 10 songs left. Of course, somewhere during the course of the show, I yelled the chorus to ‘Chris Barnes Is A Pussy’ (‘Chris Barnes Is A – F****t’). All I can think of is that he was nervous, and afraid of me, and ran to his usual hiding spot (the tour bus). I yelled he was a f****t a couple more times outside the bus, then went home. I wish he could’ve at least finished the set before running away.
Most people there had no idea why they stopped for no reason whatsoever. I explained to a couple people about our situation years earlier, and that he was a pussy, and had to run and hide in his tour bus. So, to wrap things up, 7 years later, Chris Barnes is still a pussy. At least they did ‘Murdered In The Basement’, my favorite song from the new CD. I wish they did a bunch of their hilarious cover songs. I think they should really consider doing ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ by Queen for their next CD. It could really show off Barnes’ vocal range, plus, he’s g*y like Freddie Mercury, so it would make sense. I’ll bet Freddie Mercury didn’t run from all his fights. I’m sure he would’ve at least slapped the other person with a pink glove or something.”